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Sep 30, 2011

“I have realized that the past and future are real illusions, that they exist in the present, which is what there is and all there is.” -- Alan Watts

Marshall McLuhan discusses Harold Innis's idea of time and space...

"Industrialism implies technology and the cutting of time into precise fragments suited to the needs of the engineer and the accountant." -- Harold Innis

"To the philosophers of India, however, Relativity is no new discovery, just as the concept of light years is no matter for astonishment to people used to thinking of time in millions of kalpas, (A kalpa is about 4,320,000 years). The fact that the wise men of India have not been concerned with technological applications of this knowledge arises from the circumstance that technology is but one of innumerable ways of applying it." -- Alan Watts

“Time is a measure of energy, a measure of motion. And we have agreed internationally on the speed of the clock. And I want you to think about clocks and watches for a moment. We are of course slaves to them. And you will notice that your watch is a circle, and that it is calibrated, and that each minute, or second, is marked by a hairline which is made as narrow as possible, as yet to be consistent with being visible.

And when we think of a moment of time, when we think what we mean by the word “now”; we think of the shortest possible instant that is here and gone, because that corresponds with the hairline on the watch. And as a result of this fabulous idea, we are a people who feel that we don’t have any present, because the present is instantly vanishing - it goes so quickly. It is always becoming past. And we have the sensation, therefore, of our lives as something that is constantly flowing away from us. We are constantly losing time. And so we have a sense of urgency. Time is not to be wasted. Time is money. And so, because of the tyranny of this thing, we feel that we have a past, and we know who we are in terms of our past. Nobody can ever tell you who they are, they can only tell you who they were.

And we think we also have a future. And that is terribly important, because we have a naive hope that the future is somehow going to supply what we are looking for. You see, if you live in a present that is so short that it is not really here at all, you will always feel vaguely frustrated.”

Alan Watts, British philosopher, writer, and speaker (1915-1973)

"At instant speeds, everybody begins to live inside a 360-degree module in which every event echoes every other event back and forth at electric speeds, and all events bounce off each other creating patterns. There is one optimistic feature. The mind moves very much faster than light. Light travels to Mars in minutes. The mind can go and come back from Mars in an instant many times. The mind can actually recognize all these electric patterns as easily as it can alphabetic letters. It's very much faster than the computer."

-- Marshall McLuhan in McLuhan Dissects the Executive,
Business Week Magazine, p.118, June 24, 1972.

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